Is This Petty? Could You Continue To Date Someone Who Disrespects Your Family?

August 11, 2017  |  

Another week, another drama-filled day in the life of Pedro and Chantel from 90 Day Fiance. 

If you caught the last few episodes of the series, then you’re well aware of the fact that even though Pedro and Chantel are hoping to have a wedding ceremony in his native Dominican Republic, neither party’s family members are being supportive. Chantel’s family has acted a whole entire donkey since arriving in the Caribbean nation, making disparaging remarks about Pedro’s mother, refusing to get out of the car when the families visited Pedro’s grandmother and putting in Chantel’s ear that her husband is sending money home so he can one day return, having used her the whole time. (And don’t get me started on her brother River…) As for Pedro’s family, they’ve served questionable food to Chantel’s brood and basically encouraged him to give her the boot. Not to mention that the sister is way too involved in grown folks’ business.

But none of that soap opera mess compared to the spectacle that viewers witnessed on Sunday night when Chantel tried to smooth things over with Pedro’s mom and sister unsuccessfully.

After apologizing to them for the behavior of her parents during the visit to Pedro’s grandmother’s house, Chantel tried to calmly explain her grievance with the money Pedro sends to them based on the humble lifestyle she feels they live in Atlanta. It was going ok until Pedro’s sister told Chantel that she was sick and tired of hearing her complain about the same things, and if she felt like she couldn’t jibe with her husband’s Dominican culture (because, for the record, Chantel and Pedro are already married), she should divorce him. Chantel and the sister eventually went back and forth in both English and Spanish, with his sis at one point crossing the line, calling Chantel a “b—h.” A flustered Chantel countered with an even harsher message. By the end of their conversation, she’d called the sister an “*inaudible* a– f–king b—h a– slut a– whore.” It was a mouthful, and it was all pretty ugly.

For the record, both Chantel and Pedro’s sister need to apologize, but a “whore”? Now that’s strong.

In a conversation with my friend about the melee, I said to her, “I don’t know how you can move forward with someone who calls your mother or sister a whore.” Her response was, “You can’t!”

But is that truly the case? Is there actually a way to mend fences?

My initial thought was that maybe Chantel and Pedro, and people in a similar relationship bind, could focus on one another and maintain their relationships with their families separately. That would mean no more shared family vacations. No meetups for Thanksgiving and Christmas. If she wants to see her family, she can do so, but the expectation that Pedro would follow along shouldn’t be there. Same goes for Pedro’s interactions with his own mother and sister.

And considering that neither Chantel’s parents nor Pedro’s mom seem willing to apologize for the parts they’ve played, and instead, attack their child’s partner (with said child doing nothing to stop such insults), there doesn’t seem to be another option for them right now.

But that’s not truly realistic is it? People can, but shouldn’t spend the entirety of their relationship avoiding one another’s families for fear of having their character maligned at every gathering. That’s too much work and highly unlikely once a couple, married in Chantel and Pedro’s case, start to expand their own family. If I was in a similar situation (praise God that I’m not), I would implore my significant other, for my sake, to put aside his pride and at least try and talk with my loved one, and do so privately (no sisters, brothers, aunties or cousins jumping in). I would also ask the same of my relative and remind them that such negativity is detrimental to the future of my marriage.

However, if I was just dating someone, I would need things to be much simpler. There would need to be an immediate apology to my family member and an understanding by my boyfriend that disgracing my blood will never be tolerated. But let there be no hesitation — a similar type of warning should be issued to family as well, because we’ve all had that one relative or parent who thinks they can get away with disrespectful comments on the sly.

I do think it is possible to salvage a relationship after a skirmish between your partner and your people (as I like to call family). But what is required is maturity, the ability for parties involved to own up to their errors, as well as an understanding that one’s relationship with their family or lover can be maintained without impeding upon the other relationship. But when our family feels so motivated to comment or intrude on our relationships, or our romantic interests feel threatened by bonds with family, that tension and negativity will continue to open the door in the future for more foolishness. And in Pedro and Chantel’s case, they can’t afford any more of that…

But as always, that’s just my opinion. What say you? Is it possible to continue a relationship with someone who has greatly disrespected someone in your family? 

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